Volunteering is demanding, rewarding for O'Hara woman
After two decades in corporate personnel, Michele Reuss is working on a much more personal level.
She is dedicating herself to promoting equity in higher education, supporting the local middle school and mentoring others' careers.
Michele has bitten off big jobs, but the energetic woman makes her activities work.
“I have to have fun. I have to have passions about what I do. I'm invested. It's who I am,” Michele said.
One such continuing passion for Michele is the Negro Educational Emergency Drive, or NEED, a nonprofit founded in 1963 that provides career counseling and scholarships so that Pittsburgh youths can reach their highest potential.
For Michele, offering education is offering equality.
“It's an equal opportunity to shine,” she said. “You can only be better with different types of people.
“You will be able to listen to different opinions and come up with a better solution.”
Her philosophical belief in diversity leads her to champion public education.
“Public school systems give you the opportunity to see diversity and do something with it,” she said.
The educational system was one of the reasons why Michele and her husband came to O'Hara a handful of years ago.
Their primary interest in the area is Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, where the Reuss family is very active.
They bought an older house on Field Club Road, tore it down and built a new home on the property.
About the same time, Michele decided to retire from her position at Giant Eagle headquarters, where she worked in personnel for 22 years.
The job provided lots of challenges.
Among Michele's favorite parts of the job was mentoring the 30 to 60 summer student employees every year.
As much as she misses her co-workers and her career, Michele knew it was time to move on.
“The stars lined up,” she said.
She became involved in the Fox Chapel Area School District, where her daughter, Maddie is a student.
When her daughter moved to Dorseyville Middle School, Michele followed.
This year, her daughter's second year there, she is the PTO's president.
“There is an opportunity for more involvement. A lot of parents have a lot of skills,” she said.
Michele not only spends time organizing support for the middle school in general, she has the time now to run those all-important car pools for her daughter.
She manages her day now so she can be at home when her daughter leaves and there when she gets back.
Her consulting work as a career advisor keeps her busy.
She also volunteers as a judge of elections for O'Hara and has volunteered with Leadership Pittsburgh.
Volunteering can be taxing, Michele said.
“It's like having a full-time job without the resources,” she joked.
Sharon Drake is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Drake: Promoting community center O’Hara woman’s new duty
- Aspinwall native dedicated majority of life working to support servicemen
- Fox Chapel Area budget plan includes technology upgrades
- Residents asked for thoughts on Aspinwall, Sharpsburg development
- Drake: Improving parks part of Fox Chapel woman’s passions
- Morningside VFW honors veterans with fishing day at O’Hara park